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Annals Of Israeli Judicial Racism – OpEd


James Joyce wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  Tonight I’m writing a portrait of a judge as an old racist.

Some readers develop an allergic reaction when I write posts like the one I’m about to.  All I can say is if Israel’s highest professional leadership didn’t believe these things and Israeli journalists didn’t think they were worth publishing then I wouldn’t have a story to write myself.  So rather than complain that I always write about such stories, I’d suggest that Israel’s judiciary develop an ethics code that disciplines judges who so clearly disqualify themselves from sitting on the bench and deciding cases fairly.  While the judge in this case is retired you can be sure that the views expressed informed his attitudes and decisions when he was on the bench.  He is still a respected public figure who served as chief judge of the military court of appeals and as a judge for the chief of staff.  He also serves on the advisory committee of a far right wing Zionist “think tank,” the Institute for Zionist Strategies.  Another key leader of the Institute is Max Singer, co-founder of the Hudson Institute, who I’ve written about here.

A website called Patriotic Israel, which appears to be a settler-supported media outlet profiles Judge Uri Shtruzman, who wants readers of this august publication to understand “the truth” as he sees it (doesn’t it remind you of Jack Nicholson in , when he says: “The truth?  You want the truth?  You can’t HANDLE the truth!”).  I do so love it when right wing Israeli nationalists say emphatically that they want us to know “the truth” about Arabs or about the Israeli-Arab conflict.  It’s always of course the truth as THEY see it.  Which of course is their opinion, their reading of history and an amalgation of facts mixed with opinion–but definitely not the truth.

Judge Shtruzman, a Likud loyalist who, in a 2005 Haaretz article, called for IDF soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate settlements (imagine a judge in the military court system approves of behavior that in any other society would be called mutiny), inveighs in this interview against the “dangerous naivete” of some Israelis and recommends that Israel speak “the truth” to the nations of the world.  That truth means among other things rejecting the notion that it is possible to make possible with the Arab nations.  This notion is naive in the extreme, since the truth is that no peace can be made in “this generation or the next” because the Arab nation is “not ready to accept us.”  That’s because the values of Muslims lag behind those of the rest of the peoples of the world.  Apparently the good judge missed the memo about the Saudi peace initiative, now ten years old, which called for precisely what Shturzman says is impossible.  What he really means is that peace is not possible on settlers’ terms, and therefore it’s not possible at all.

Part of the reason for this Arab intransigence lies in the fact that the Arab world is mired in “the same situation that held sway in Europe hundreds of years ago” in which religious wars were the rule of the day.  Now, Europe has come to the point that it upholds the values of nationalism alongside other values [than religious fanaticism].  Today, Shturzman says:

Israel is destroying itself for the sake of European values of human rights the aspiration to democracy for all.  According to such ideas, equality for all human beings is the order of the day, including a demand that we embrace even those seeking to prey upon us, because they too have a right to life and to eat [!].

The judge finds there are essential differences between Jews and Muslims.  While Jews attempted to integrate into the societies in which they settled in the Diaspora (he seems to have missed the whole Zionism thing, which rejected precisely this notion that Jews could integrate as minorities within Diaspora lands), Muslims in the non-Muslim Diaspora seek to have their culture, laws and religion dominate [the societies in which they live].  He sees the same phenomenon occuring in the Knesset, with Muslim MKs acting in the interests of themeselves and against the interests of the State and the Jewish people.

The Muslim MKs are members of a people which seeks to destroy the State of Israel, and the idea that they seek the best for Israel because it seeks to do well by them is a dangerous notion that we must recognize as such.  If we do not, Judge Shtruzman says, our end will be like that of Yugoslavia after Tito died.  In other words, someone has to impose some order on this mess otherwise the ‘uppity niggers’ will get the notion that they’re equal to us and will destroy this country just like the Muslims did, Yugoslavia.


This article first appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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